Fetishizing stupidity

The Onion headline “Study: Majority Of Americans Not Informed Enough To Stereotype Chechens,” popped up a few days after the Boston Marathon bombings and the same day the suspects had been identified as Chechen. I saw the article reposted and retweeted for days, and I noticed there was a seriousness behind the comments: Certainly, the headline was a joke, but it was also probably true.

Growing up without benchmarks

I moved to upstate New York a few weeks ago to begin a doctoral program at Cornell University. So I find myself living in the Finger Lakes, starting over again at 25. I’ve made a couple of large moves before—one across the continent to go to university, the other back to Portland to change careers—both of which have taught me how to start over.

Constructing a narrative in death

It’s difficult to construct a singular picture of any person just by picking and choosing their life events for an obituary. People like Hugo Chavez and Margaret Thatcher may always be known for polarizing the nations that they led, and therefore the story lines that are chosen to narrate their lives will always reflect that polarity.

When words do more than sting

No shock here: We’ve become relatively shock-proof. With the parade of trashy reality TV shows, exorbitantly violent video games and cringe-inducing political coverage, we seem to be immune to almost everything shocking. But last fall I started noticing the comeback of a word that generally makes most people do a double-take: cunt. This reemergence wasn’t occurring in colloquial conversation with my friends; I was hearing it more and more frequently on television.

Political polarity

The recent Oral arguments regarding same-sex marriage once again brought to light the political divisions in America. Laws like the Defense of Marriage Act that originated as political plays are once again being used politically in an attempt to maintain animosity along party lines.

What do you mean, ‘I feel just fine’?

As students, we have the luxury of having access to health care. Because of that privilege, we need to make an effort to be proactive about our health instead of taking the road that continues to drive up costs: defensive health care.

Battling the stigma of community college

We all know there is a stigma against community college. And before I took community college courses, I was guilty of propagating that stigma. The idea is that courses will be easier because they’re designed for less intelligent people, and the teaching staff will be subpar. This opinion exists all over the U.S.

Meteoric inspiration

Last month an asteroid raced into our atmosphere and across the Russian skyline, much to the delight of many Russians who conveniently had videocameras mounted on the dashboards of their cars.

What the frack?

President Barack Obama surprised many during his second inaugural address by making a big push for advancements against climate change. It seemed as if we might see a different version of Obama in his second term.

Would you like to buy cookies for equality?

It’s that time of year again, when adorable children and their parents stand outside of grocery store entrances and sweetly ask us to spend $4 a box on Girl Scout cookies. If you’re like me—lacking in self-control—you’ll often give in and buy some.

Mediating medical errors

The Oregon State Legislature is back in session, and Gov. Kitzhaber has led off testimony for a bill that he calls “the holy grail of medical and legal politics.” The goal of Oregon Senate Bill 483 is to attempt to reduce the number of medical liability claims—in other words, patients who sue their doctors for failing to provide them with an acceptable level of care.